I'm Not Okay


elaine_icon.gif robyn3_icon.gif

Scene Title I'm Not Okay
Synopsis What will it take to show you
That it's not the life it seems?
Date January 7, 2019

Cresting Wave Apartments, Elaine's Apartment

Robyn Quinn isn't one for random stop ins. Most of her friends know that by now; that if she just shows up on your doorstep, it's probably for a good reason. Even with the slowly increasing infrastructure and availability of phone reception, she always makes a point of giving some sort of advance warning.

Which is why it's probably a bit strange when, in the middle of the afternoon, the SESA agent finds herself practically pounding on Elaine Darrow's front door. It's been a while since she last set foot in Yamagato - the ban on unregistered or unmanifested/Class U Expressives preventing her from visiting until the Matsuri,and she hadn't been inclined to return afterwards.

At least, not until today.

There are days when she looks bad, and days like today. Her hair is a bit of a mess, dark rings settled under her eyes. Slightly bloodshot and tired, if one looks close enough. She lets out a mighty yawn as she pounds on last time on Elaine's door.

She's supposed to be at Fort Jay, in her office. But it's the second day in a row she hasn't been in the office. Hopefully, no one would mind her burning the sick days she's never bothered to sue before now.

"Elaine," comes a bit more quietly than intended. "Elaine, are you home?" In one hand she holds a stack of papers, looking at the door hopefully.

The perk of being a translator was that most of Elaine’s work could be done on a computer. So when she wasn’t handling priceless artifacts, she was wherever the technology happened to be. Which, in fact, often happened to be at home. That was the office of a workaholic after all. Having been scrolling through some work, her ears pick up the familiar sound of Robyn’s voice.

“Wait, Robyn?”

She’s on her feet in an instant and moves to the front of the apartment, opening the door. She’s a stark contrast to Robyn’s disheveled look, being dressed in a yellow pencil skirt, black blouse, and black patent heels. Work wardrobe even when working at home, it seems. She peers at Robyn in concern, moving quickly out of the way to let her in.

“What on earth are you doing here? Are you okay?”

"Can I borrow your printer?" is a mumbled reponse, looking up to Elaine with a bit of a smile, and for a moment, that smile turns sly, almost daring as she steps in and hooks an arm around the other woman's waist, leaning up to kiss her on the cheek. But the action seems to linger uncomfortably for a moment before she pulls away. That sly smile is replaced with the look of uncertainty she'd had moments before.

"S-Sorry, I don't know, what…" trailing off , Robyn shakes her head. "No. I'm not." Circling back to Elaine's other question, that answer seems obvious enough at this point. Robyn seems ill at ease, maybe even a little bit twitchy.

She steps in past the taller woman, tossing her thin stack of papers down on to Elaine's coffee table - they look like forms of some sort, the top one marred by some sort of thick pen mark trailing incoherently from a signature spot down to the bottom of the page and off it it, an erratic marking that wavers back and forth and down the page.

Even with Robyn’s discomfort, the familiar gesture brings a smile to Elaine’s lips. She ushers the other woman inside, letting the door fall shut behind them. She makes sure to lock the door, then proceeds over towards her desk where her laptop and printer sit. Her eyes move from the printer back to Robyn, and she instead moves to the couch. Taking Robyn’s hands in hers, she sits and pulls the woman with her.

“Hey. I’ve never seen you this jumpy. Take a breath and tell me what’s wrong. I’ll help you however I can.”

When Elaine tries to pull Robyn down, she likes surprises both of them by abruptly pulling away. "The hell…" Fingers flex back in, and she stares at her hands for a moment. "It's- I don't know!" Robyn reaches u p and runs both hands through her hair. "I'm not- not jumpy, I just haven't been sleeping."

Which tends to lead to jumpiness, but that's neither here nor there.

"Printer," she states again, motioning to the stack of papers. "I need to reprint that last page, and… I dunno, maybe try and drop it off today." Her hand still out to it, she sighs for a moment before letting her arm fall back to her side. "You can see why," referring to the failed attempt at signing the page that marrs it now. "It's important."

The abrupt sensation of Robyn pulling away is most definitely not what Elaine expected and she honestly looks dazed for a moment, especially with the sound of Robyn’s raised voice. She doesn’t take long, however, to pull herself back together and she puts on her business face. She straightens herself up, moving smoothly back over to the laptop as she logs in and sets everything up for her to access.

“All good. Printer’s hooked up on default, just find what you need and print it.”

With that, she steps out of the way and sits on an armchair, her eyes not moving from Robyn. She just watches. Watches and waits. She has time.

A thumb drive is popped into Elaine's computer, bringing up a pdf of the page she claims she needs printed off. The deed is done in quick order, Robyn letting out a long sigh as she waits for it to print. She swallows hard, stepping back from the computer.

"Sorry," comes in a quiet voice. "I didn't- I don't mean to worry you. I just…" Hands reach up, rubbing down hers. "It's been getting worse lately, and I-" She looks back to Elaine, then down to the floor. "I dunno, "Lainey, I'm kinda a mess." Lainey?

If she wasn’t worried before, now she’s worried. Elaine keeps her eyes on Robyn. She leans forward slightly on her chair. “You can’t keep me from worrying. I’ve worried about you far more than you’ve probably ever realized,” she says with a wry grin. Still, she doesn’t rise from her chair or approach Robyn—that didn’t work so well last time.

“Let’s get your papers together and delivered wherever they need to go. Then you need to come back here. I’m going to cook you whatever comfort food you want and you’re gonna get a good night’s sleep, even if I have to drug you. Understand? You aren’t in all this alone, remember?”

"It doesn't have to go in today. I'm not sure I could get it where I need to before they close." As the page prints, Robyn pulls it up and over to her, signing the spot where the incident had occurred before. Picking it up, she moves to set it with the rest of the stack. "I'm buying property," she admits in a low voice. "In Bay Ridge, over where Sunset Park used to be."

Standing across the coffee table from Elaine, she looks back up at her. "Comfort food? I mean, I- dunno what you got t'fix here, but, I'm not really-" Worried about food. The words come out in a way that sounds… off. Like a bit of Robyn's natural accent is blending into her French. It's not the first time Elaine's heard that from her, but at least one of those times involved a lot a whiskey.

And despite her appearance, RObyn is for once completely dry. Hands reach up, palms rubbing at her eyes." I just need t'have a normal night, hon, an' then I'll be right as rain." A long sigh. "Can you help me with that, 'Lainey?"

“Of course we can do that. I’ve got some old DVDs and half a package of leftover sugar cookies we can have,” Elaine offers a genuine smile. “And I can gather up all the pillows in a giant pile in the center of the room that we can lounge on like it was Gun Hill all over again.” She rubs the back of her neck. “That’s what I think of as normal. Just us, hanging out, being with each other. The silly sort of stuff you never admit to other people that you do.”

She pushes herself to her feet. “Congratulations on the property. I’m glad to hear you aren’t going too far away from here.”

There's a moment where Robyn stops for a moment, and then lowers her hands back to her side, now wearing a confident smirk. "It's going t'be a studio, love. Recording studio, yeah?" She waves a finger at Elaine, clearly proud of this prospect.

But that finger retracts after a moment, smile falling away. Her hand moves to the back of her neck in a way that mirrors Elaine. "Yeah. Yeah, maybe that'll help," she offers quietly. "Gun Hill… it's been so long since I even thought about that place." Her shoulders slump a bit, and she looks down at the floor. "I miss that sometimes." She scratches her cheek, before looking back up at Elaine.

“You’re gonna have a studio? Really getting back to your roots again, are you?” Elaine grins, looking much more at ease with Robyn’s excitement. But even as she notices the way the woman droops, she’s not having any of that on her watch. She approaches, putting her hands on her hips.

“It’s not something to be sad over. Robyn. Those were great times. It was a lifetime ago and that time’s over, but it doesn’t mean we can’t remember how nice things felt for a little while. You grow from experiences and then find ways to make new ones.” The redhead leans in to plant a kiss on Robyn’s cheek. “The world’s fucked up sometimes, but we can make the world what we want it to be. Life’s more than ‘should-have-done-this’es and ‘I-wish-I’d-done-that’s.”

"It's not f'r me," Robyn insists, as far as this new apparent plan to open a studio goes. "I can't explain it, I just- I feel this… drive." For a moment, it seems like RObyn might be relaying, particularly once Elaine leans in for a kiss. But something about what she says after has her quickly stepping back from Elaine.

"You don't get it!" she hisses, hands running back into her hair, fingers digging in. "That's all it is lately! The what abouts and the might have, could have beens!" Her hands drag back down her face, stopping to cover it. Two fingers part, allowing Robyn to look out at Elaine through parted fingers. "Do you remember the vision I told you 'bout the other week?"

The step back has her a little alarmed, and Elaine shifts her weight backwards in response. Not quite a full step back, but she’s pulling away. “That’s the problem, though. If all you do is spend your time second-guessing how will you spend any time doing?” She nods slowly. “I think I remember you talking about it.”

Her hands drop to her sides as she sighs. “Is it too early for a glass of wine?”

"Only if you're not going to pour me one." Arms falling back to her side, Robyn stares at Elaine for a moment. "The one I told you about was the second," she admits in a low voice. "I don't… remember if I told you that." There's a moment as she looks off to the side, towards the door - Elaine's seen it before, that look when she's considering if it's better to make for the door, a look that should have been vanquished by now.

She doesn't, though. "I heard… voices, back in September. On my birthday. Same day everyone else did, when they were talking about weird voices on the radio? Same time, I suddenly- remanifested? Not sure what t'call it, honestly." She holds out her hand, fingers flexing in and then out. "Like… what I heard triggered it."

Her foot taps twice, then she looks back to Elaine. "And then when everyone else started having these… visions, so did I. But I haven't stopped. Elaine." Finally, she makes her way over to the couch - around the other side from Elaine stands, and sits down. "The first two, I didn't know what to make of them. Both a' them I talked about you. One, I was working for- Pineheast?" TOngue slides across teeth, a nervous tone in her voice. "Did you ever hear about them? From the Trials and everything else? They weren't exactly the good guys, y'know. An'- I think I killed someone. At least someone, in that one."

Her shoulders tense a bit more. "It didn't get better from there."

“I think we both need one, to be honest,” comes the redhead’s answer to the question of wine. Elaine catches the urge to run from Robyn and gives her a stern look. “I’m getting us some red. I have a nice bottle I’ve been saving for a special occasion, but you’re a special occasion any time.” She gives the other woman yet another stern look, this one almost an ‘I’m watching you’ warning as she moves into the kitchen to retrieve the wine.

Being in the other room doesn’t hinder the conversation, as she continues it with the sound of a bottle being uncorked and glasses poured in the background. “I’ve heard about Pinehearst, yeah. But here’s the thing I don’t get. Robyn, it isn’t you. The universe is pretty good at throwing at us those ‘what ifs’ and they’re really distracting. What if I had married Sable and used Magnes as a sperm donor and had an amazing kid named Adel? I mean, that could have happened. But it didn’t. I didn’t do those things. I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed if I gave birth after all.”

She returns to the living room with both glasses poured and the bottle. “The trick is, don’t be so obsessed with them that you lose track of your own life. Those things you hear and see are like… pieces of you. You can learn something about yourself from them but I just… I don’t wanna get lost in a sea of memories that aren’t really yours or mine.”

A finger is brandished in Elaine's direction. "Funny you should mention that," she remarks pointedly. Robyn didn't handle this well the last time it happened, back in 2011; then, at least, it had led to her promise to Elaine that she hadn't followed through on. This time…

"I saw that one. I think. Sure seemed like that one, or worse. You know, the whole, New York is in ruins and the DoEA is in everyone's shit one." She shakes that finger. "Except this time?" She shakes her head. "This time I was thrown against the wall." She stares at Elaine for a moment, growing quiet. "And executed. In front of friends."

She leans forward, forehead resting in her palm. "It is so… maddening, Elaine. It's not so easy for me to shake off. Not after… not after seeing these things." She clears her throat. "That's not even the worst one."

“I know. I’m sure there’s a lot you’ve seen that are far more dark than I’d like to think about.” Elaine takes Robyn’s unused hand and presses a glass of wine into it. “I certainly don’t like the idea of seeing you executed. But I also do know that you’re alive here. I don’t discount any dreams or visions or things you’ve seen but you can’t let them haunt you forever. You keep saying that you were executed or that you had killed someone. But really, that’s someone else. I didn’t fall in love with those Robyns.”

The smiles slightly as she takes a sip from her wine. “And one Robyn is plenty for me, thanks.”

Rubbing at her eyes, Robyn lets out a weary sigh. "I should've saved this for going to see Richard," she mutters. "I'm sorry, 'Lainey, but it's just- it gets to me. It always has. I know I'm not them. But seeing these things? It's-"

She stops, raising her head and looking forward, as if she's landed on the one thing that proves her point, before looking back down at the ground. "Vanguard," she say quietly, and she knows Elaine knows that one. If only because of Magnes. Her shoes are drawn off before she pulls her feet up onto the couch, drawing her legs close. "I was one of them, in one. The Vanguard. I killed my own. God knows who."

The redhead sucks in a breath, letting out her own weary sigh. “I guess in a way it’s kind of like going to Auschwitz and really seeing something come alive for you. Some stuff scars you. I know this whole time travel shit has never been easy for you. But no one knows you better than you, Robyn.”

Elaine sits down next to Robyn where the woman can lean up against her if she likes. “So work through it. What would make you do something like that? What sort of things must you have been subjected to in order to get to the point where you’d join the Vanguard?”

"I don't know," Robyn replies quietly. "I don't have enough context, enough… substance and evidence to fix that out." She shudders out a breath. "You know me. I'm so pro-Evolved that I'm surprised it's not off putting to some people." There's a small chuckle under her breath. "Did you ever hear the speech I gave in Albany? 'We aren't here to be your guinea pigs' or whatever it was I said?"

She sighs. "It's just…" Hands run down her face. "You right. I mean, you're definitely right. It's not me. I shouldn't be worried about it. But- Christ." She motions with a hand, finally leaning back a bit on the couch. "Is this how it always ends up? Dead, drowning, or might as well have been dead?" She scoffs to herself. "The Pinehearst one was the only one I seemed happy."

The redhead smiles at Robyn. “Everyone’s gonna have their own viewpoint. I appreciate when people are at least open with what they believe in.” She reaches over to pat her knee. “I know. It’s always food for thought when you see something like that. But I mean… let’s accept that there are other futures, other bits of us in the universe. They can’t all be bad. There’s some laws about probability and such that prevent them from all being bad.”

“If you’re worried about being happy, Robyn, don’t. You’ll be happy if I have any say in it.”

There's a glance over to Elaine, an appreciative smile offered to her, but still Robyn's gaze ends up angled downwards. "I don't believe in fate," she says quietly. "But sometimes it seems like the universe wants me to. That it's not all chaos. It always feels like, though, that I never have as much as say as I want to." She holds up a finger to Elaine. "I know we've had this discussion before. Hard to forget."

In fact, the whole thing carries a small wave of deja vu, like nausea running up and down her spine.

"I-I go back into the field this weekend. After I get back from my last mission with Wolfhound." Fingers curl inwards, stopping suddenly as she seems to act like there's a moment of pain. "Having this in the back of my mind… it's nerve wracking. But it'll be good to get out and help some Evolved that have been wronged, maybe…:"

“I’m sure we’ve talked about this all before. We’ve had plenty of time to.” Elaine keeps her eyes on Robyn, watching her closely, as if expecting the woman to get up and flee still at any moment. “I’m sure it’s unsettling, but you’re right. Getting out and helping some Evolved would be a great thing to do. It’s the kind of thing we’ve all really been trying to do for years.”

There’s a little laugh from Elaine. “Maybe someday I’ll do more for people again. For now I just delve into history and nerd out in my own little corner of the world. Sometimes I help people though. Just sometimes.”

"We can't be heroes all the time," Robyn offers, feeling the irony of her own words burn deep as she thinks of her own recent visions. "Sometimes, you just gotta do what you can. I don't think anyone should expect anything else from us, Elaine." She sinks a bit more into the couch, though she doesn't quite seem to relax.

"All I've ever wanted to do was to help people. Out people. Make a better world for us Evolved. But there's nothing wrong with delving into history. We all need that. Without it we just repeat it, right?" Looking over at Elaine, she offers a small, if unsteady, smile.

Elaine smiles in response, although it’s a little wry. “Not all history should be repeated, certainly. I can think of a few bits I’d leave out, but not everything’s bad.” She sinks a bit into the couch herself. “I just want to make an impact, somehow. I just want to not just sink into history, I wanna make a splash in it. I want to be remembered, even if it’s just a footnote in a scholarly paper that no one will ever likely read. I’d like to help people, but more than that I just don’t want to be forgotten.”

Robyn's smile takes a more genuine turn - but one decidedly devilish - at that. "I know that feeling, 'Lainy," she says with a sudden bit of confidence. "That feeling used to be my goal in life." Robyn turns to look more directly at Elaine and nods. "Because, as the saying goes? 'Heroes always get remembered, but you know legends never die'." she spreads her hands out in front of her. "And I want to be legendary. Sounds like you do too."

There’s a small grin in response to Robyn’s words, and Elaine nods slowly. “I suppose you bit me with the bug. Maybe we can both find some way to be legendary. I just feel like yours will come in a much more heroic package and mine will be more of a plain envelope, you know?” She laughs. “You know, I think I really thought about it a lot when you left. I felt so directionless and so meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I realized that it wasn’t where I wanted to be. Been trying to figure out things ever since.”

There's a distinct and embellished roll of Robyn's eyes at that. "Fuck that," she replies in a tone that contrasts with the concern and instability she was exhibiting just moments before.. "That's not how it works, 'Lainy." Robyn shifts, moving to sit on her knees on the couch as she turns to face Elaine. "No such thing as plain legendary. You have to make that for yourself." She eyes her for a moment. "So next life goal for you? Figuring out what you really want to be doing. And then we can start from there."

That wide brimmed smile fades quickly though, Robyn sinking back into the couch with a defeated sounding sigh. "And then maybe, after that, it'll be my turn to figure that out. I'm… I thought I knew, but I'm not so sure anymore. Not after these…" visions.

“I tell you what… we’ll help each other figure out what we want to be doing. We do it right this time. No more running off to protect the other person or that kind of bullshit. We do it as a team. We do it right. I don’t mean it has to be a relationship thing, I just…”

Elaine sighs. “You get me. And I know you way better than most. I work better as a team and I can sure as hell tell you that we make a great team. Relationship stuff… that’ll find its own course, but we’re still two people who are important to each other and I’ll always have your back. I want you to do that whole ‘live your best life’ crap that always gets talked about.”

There's a bit of a snort and a scoff from Robyn, who looks back up at Elaine with a suddenly more predatory expression. "Oh, hon," she replies in stilted manner, sliding to close the gap between her and Elaine. As soon as she's there, she turns and hooks an arm around Elaine, leaning in without a moment of hesitation to a kiss she holds for quite a moment. It may feel longer than it actually is.

When she pulls, she's wearing the most full of herself smirk she can muster, and she waves a finger at Elaine. "That is relationship 'stuff'. The rest of it?" Clicking her tongue, she slips off the couch and too her feet, arms held out in front of her. "That's just us makin' sure we don't end up one of th' wretched," with just a bit of a her natural accent slipping into those words.

Bewildered by the kiss, Elaine sort of melts into a puddle of pure surprise. The kiss certainly feels longer than it is, especially because the redhead hasn’t had a kiss like that in god knows how long. She blinks at Robyn with a dazed look before she smiles wryly. “Fine, fine, it’s relationship stuff then. I’m just telling you that I trust you. I’m giving you my trust back. I know you’ll handle it better this time.”

Elaine rises to her feet, looking back at Robyn. “I just think we work well together, is that so wrong?” A pause. “I forgot how good of a kisser you are.”

Pulling her arms back, Robyn stares ahead for a moment. "Of course it's not." The compliment earns a grin but not a vocalised reply. "You're right," is offered a bit more quietly, sheepishly, before Robyn looks down at the floor, and then over at Elaine. "Something I'll remember better from now on."

And then, she stretches her arms and her shoulders droop. "Oh good," she mumbles, sitting back down on the couch. "I think… " Taking a deep breath, she looks up at Elaine. "I think I feel a bit better now. Thanks, Elaine."

“Yeah, you better remember it,” Elaine says, nudging Robyn in the side before resuming her seated position next to her. “But I’m glad you’re feeling better. You kind of reminded me a bit of a flaming garbage heap for a while there.” She grins, clearly trying to make light of the situation. “But yeah, that’s what I’m here for. And you know where to find me if you ever need it. I’m not going anywhere.”

There's a quiet nod from Robyn, staring down at her hands in her laps. It had been a bit of a lie - she feels better, but she's not better. Her thoughts still eat at the back of her mind. Despite that, she nods, once slow and then a few more times a bit more affirmatively. "I'm okay," she lies in a low voice, before looking up at Elaine.

"Trust me."

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